Open mic night sparks censorship

Open Mic Night, presented by Associated Student Productions, (ASP) took place last Wednesday night, but was it really open? 

“ASP hopes to create a community [to] showcase all talents and to support fellow seawolves.  We are looking forward to seeing all the hidden talents that the students have,” Emily Meyer, a junior and director for the Live @ SSU committee, said before the event took place. 

The stage was set, line-up ready to go, and students filled Lobos ready to listen, but the event didn’t go according to plan.

Twenty minutes after the start time, the sound system was finally fixed and Meyer introduced the first act. 

The night was underway and everything seemed to be running smoothly when Andrew Nazavian, a fifth year student at Sonoma State University, took the stage with his first stand up routine. 

“I wanted to tell these stories that my friends had heard a thousand times,” Nazavian said. But as he started a new joke in his act about prostitution in Thailand, Nazavian was interrupted by Meyer and was not allowed to finish his act.

“At Open Mic we welcome and encourage all students to display their talents in a safe and inclusive manner,” Meyer said. “Given that there were some topics during Andrew’s set that broached the topics of offensive racial stereotypes, we felt that we needed to intervene to continue the safe and inclusive space we advertise Open Mic to be.” 

This does prompt the participants to wonder what may be allowed at the event, and what material they may have to toss out.

“No one should be able to interrupt someone while they’re in the middle of their act. We have the freedom to speak whatever we feel and it was so rude,” Nazavian said after his performance.

The incident didn’t go unnoticed, but the night continued forward with more performances. 

However, the rest of Nazavian’s act was never heard. 

Another performer who took the stage, Collin Chinn, is not new to performing at Open Mic Night and sang three songs on last Wednesday. 

Chinn is a third year at Sonoma State and is majoring in music. 

“Music has always been something I have appreciated. I’ve been playing the guitar since I was 10. Now I’m majoring in music and I am around people who really respect it,” Chinn said. 

Chinn works for ASP which is a large reason as to why he attends Open Mic Night on a regular basis. 

“It is a consistent system which I like. People come, sign up and play. The only thing that would make Open Mic Night better would be the noise level, but that’s something that can’t exactly be controlled,” Chinn said. 

New to Sonoma State and Open Mic Night, Yajaira Frausto also performed. She is a freshman and chose to showcase a poem she wrote.

“I like to write poetry and it is important to me to be involved in school and this is a good way to get known,” Frausto stated. 

A variety of talents were at Open Mic Night last Wednesday. Everyone had the opportunity to perform but not all of the performers had the opportunity to finish.